Feb 7, 2012, 10:32:46 PM

In Australia, more specifically in Melbourne after the Australian Open men’s final, there was a lot of talk about the fans and specifically the banter that emerged, fuelled by elements of the local media, between two...
In Australia, more specifically in Melbourne after the Australian Open men’s final, there was a lot of talk about the fans and specifically the banter that emerged, fuelled by elements of the local media, between two female fans. One is a 14 year old girl and the other a grown woman. After the final Novak Djokovic threw a shirt into the stands, almost it seemed, in the direction of the 14 year old but the older woman put her arm out and snatched it. The older woman refused to part with the shirt despite the fact the 14 year old insisted Nole was throwing it to her. Eventually after much to-ing and fro-ing the woman auctioned the shirt for charity and the girl’s mother got the winning bid. It cost her $A5,500. It got me to thinking about how fans behave in various parts of the tennis world so here is my list on how I see fans. Some are funny, others are aggressive and some … well just don’t care as long as there are entertained one way or another. You tell us if you think I am accurate with my list (remember this is in no particular order) and if not what are your opinions of tennis fans from around the world. SPANISH FANS – they like the overall aspect of tennis but most of their attention is with the local players and why not they have plenty to choose from starting with one of the all-time greats in Rafa Nadal. A Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie in a bull ring is a special experience. GERMAN FANS – they are quite happy to have a stein of beer during the change of ends with some bratwurst and get involved with their rhythmic clapping to try and motivate the player they are supporting. AMERICAN FANS – they have a “don’t care” attitude and are quite happy to talk and move around even when play is going on and then look dumfounded when they are told to sit down. American fans mostly think they are at a basketball match and feel “hey buddy get on wid it”. Oh yes, let’s not forget the supersized drink and “hot dawg”. Often the American fan gets things wrong but it is their oblivious attitude that gets very funny at times. BRITISH FANS – probably the most polite of all. Usually at an event in England the “sound” during a tennis match has richness in it. It’s like everything is in stereo or HD. The applause is in unison and is full. But more often you are starting to hear calling out: “C’mon Roger!” or “C’mon Andy” as a Pimms No1 takes effect. ITALIAN FANS – probably among the most amusing of all because they want to get involved. If you are talking about impatient fans, well you can’t go past the Italians. The arms and hands and being waved all over the place. It’s the old expressions like “mama mia” that can be heard. And, if they don’t like you as a player well look out, you might as well quit. AUSTRALIAN FANS – these fans are probably the most knowledgeable and funniest fans. Okay, okay so I am an Aussie, but it’s true. They understand the game and acknowledge all the right moments and then create an amazing atmosphere with their chanting, grunting impersonations and comments: “hey mate get on with it”, or “fair crack, my Nan could hit a better backhand”. FRENCH FANS – Oh la la, ce magnifique, mon cherie. French fans just want to look good, that’s what often concerns them. Certainly they get involved in a match and can be impatient but not to the extent of the Italians who have that aspect cornered. But with the French fans it seems so many of them are lacking geography, why do they start cheering as if they are toreadors? Can’t work that out. ASIAN FANS – they are quite polite, shy and reserved. Asian fans are still developing a taste for tennis and they are the fans that copy other fans from Europe. SERBIAN FANS – they are very passionate about their tennis and so they should be with the number of prominent players this small nation has and led by Novak Djokovic. Serbian fans are still getting into the sport and can get pretty raucous. LATIN AMERICAN FANS – oh my gosh you definitely don’t want to stir these guys up; if you do it would be like stirring up a hornet’s nest. Latin American fans are definitely ones that get involved in tennis matches. Tennis matches to them are no different to football matches and their football matches can be crazy experiences. Expect the coins and cushions to be tossed onto the court. Ole! HONOURABLE MENTION – INDIAN FANS – amusing, they have an idea of what’s going on but if it is not cricket then they are not likely to come in droves. If a match is going slowly it would not be uncommon to hear someone shout: “Hit out or get out!” Oh and if the fan can’t remember a player’s name, or doesn’t know it, they will probably refer to them as “uncle” or “aunty”.